MORE BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR BEING COOL AS SHIT
nicola cruz – la mirada
aiff – mission l’afrique
ceux qui marchent debout – it’s alright now
the mabon dawud quintet – adeba
the human race – gray boy
flowers morgan & lee – light stakeout
gabor szabo – galatea’s guitar
james asher – asian workshop
fela kuti & the afrika 70 – stalemate
few lab – attendez un moment
mop mop feat anthony joseph – the barber
nubiya twist – crocodile
marvin holmes & justice – all night into day
ocote soul sounds feat quantic – not yet
9th creation – rule of mind
mato – close encounters of the third kind dub
the crystalites – concentration version 3
the roots – break you off (Bogart’s soundcheck dub)
the roots feat musiq – break you off
I got a lot of positive response from the first Background Music For Being Cool As Shit mix, so I figured I’d do a follow up. It starts off a little different, but soon settles in to the 70s soundtrack-ish funk and soul that dominated the first installment.
Simply Beautiful (Beatconductor Remix) - I am not often fond of messing with flawless classics like Al Green, but true to form, Stockholm’s Beatconductor knows WTF he’s doing. He pretty much left the track as is, and gave us just enough of a retro Sly-Stone-Fresh-era drum machine beat to get you nodding your head. #notevenmad.
La Mirada – Somebody on Bandcamp described Nicola Cruz’s music as “Future Folkloric Ecuadorian Business”. That works for me. This slow groover is just weird enough to keep me interested. The whole album is worth a listen. Came out in 2015 on the Argentinean label ZZK.
Mission L’afrique – When I first started seeing Rotterdam’s Afro Influenced Funk Federation showing up on compilations, I really thought some bitch-ass DJ was pulling my leg, trying to obscure the name of this group by using a generic audio file format name. Thankfully I was wrong. This is from their 2007 “Afro Soul System”, but I copped it on the rather recent and very dope “Jump N Funk” comp on BBE put together by NY’s (and Philly’s) own DJ Rich Medina. Rich is a cool-ass brother, and I’ve been going to his Jump-N-Funk parties in NYC for 15 years, so I’m thrilled to see him getting some much deserved international shine. I put a few tracks from it on this very mix, and if you dig afrobeat like I do, you should check it out.
It’s Alright Now – Parisian brass-heavy funkateers Ceux Qui Marchent Debout have been laying down this type of heat since they formed back in the mid-90s. This is a cover of the Eddie Harris 1976 original, which is a funk record collector staple, and well worthy of that status, as you’ll see HERE.
Adeba – The surge in Ethiopian jazz and funk compilations in the last few years has yielded a lot of gems heretofore lost in the dusty thrift stores of Addis Ababa. This Mabon Dawud Quintet track opens up the Peace Chant comp on Germany’s Tramp label, which has been putting out great rarities and re-issues inna Daptone style since about 2003. Check out their whole catalogue HERE
Gray Boy – Not to be confused with San Diego’s Acid Jazz cat, Greyboy, Gray Boy is the B-Side to a rare 45 that came out on the short-lived Gem label in 1969. The Human Race were the house band at Miami’s famous Continental Club – which was part of Liberty City’s thriving soul scene of the day that produced Betty Wright, Little Beaver, and Blowfly – to name but a few. Where’s Aaron Fishbein when you need him?
Light Stakeout – an obscure library cut from two heavy hitters in the London music scene of the 60s and beyond that has been sorta fattened up by Kansas-born / London-based producer Shawn Lee. The original cut came out on the library label KPM in 1970. Herbie Flowers played bass with T Rex, Cat Stevens, Serge Gainsbourg, and many others, including being the man behind two epic baselines worth mentioning, notably Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” (yes, really) and Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into The Fire”. Barry Morgan played drums for Tom Jones, Elton John, and David Bowie in his very early days. This sounds like some real gangsta shit to me.
Galatea’s Guitar – LPs from the Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo seem to have found their way into the record collections of every eclectic DJ I know. They’re a bit hit or miss, but there’s always some dopeness to be found, if you take the time to listen. Gabor caught the Jazz bug in 1950s Budapest via The Voice of America radio. He fled Hungary in 1956 and worked as a janitor in LA before being accepted to the Berklee College of Music. This kicked off an amazing career, playing with Chico Hamilton, Eric Dolphy, Bob James, Ron Carter, Lena Horne, and a million others. This was the opening track on his 1968 “Dreams” LP.
Asian Workshop – An unsung 1981 soundtrack cut from James Asher, a British composer who recorded a lot of this kind of stuff for TV and film throughout the 70s and 80s. You may recognize it as sampled by The Chemical Brothers on “Sunshine Underground” from their seminal “Surrender” LP which I wore out in downtown lounges and restaurants the late 90s.
Stalemate – I am grateful to Rich Medina for including this on the above mentioned Jump-N-Funk comp and thus introducing me to a Fela song I somehow missed all these years. The content is a bit less political than his usual steez, but it moves along at that signature Fela pace that wraps your hips in a warm blanket of Afrobeat funkiness. Originally came out in 77 and was reissued around 2000.
Attendez Un Moment – I can find little information on Few Lab. Seems to possibly be an alias for Mr Few and Sandro S, a couple DJs from Naples with a penchant for Brasilian electronica and other musical eclectica. This came out just this year, but it seems to have been recorded back in 2011. Fans of my mixes will know I’m a sucker for young ladies speaking over a groovy beat, and this damn sure fits right in that pocket.
The Barber – A nice moody cut from Italian 24/7 cool cat Andrea Bernini, leader of Mop Mop. I’ve sung his praises in many a liner note previously. This is from his latest LP Lunar Love which you can peep HERE
Crocodile – Some Jazzy spoken word special sauce from the latest album by Leeds’ ensemble Nubiya Twist. Reminds me of The Brand New Heavies a bit. The horns really do their thing here. #notmad. Check out more of their stuff HERE.
All Night Into Day – Early 70s Bay Area grooviness from Marvin Holmes & Justice. Marvin headed up the relatively short-lived Brown Door label. His website refers to him as the one of the founding fathers of Oakland Funk. I can dig that. His band, The Uptights, were the kind of group that would open up fro any soul group that passed through town in the 60s, including B.B. King, The Whispers, David Ruffin, Lenny Williams, Etta James, and Hugh Masekela.
Not Yet – This funky number is the brainchild of these four gentlemen: Antibalas’ Martin Perna, Grupo Fantasma’s Adrian Quesada (Ocote Soul Sounds), Will Holland AKA Quantic , and Antibalas’ Chico Mann. I bought a 12” of theirs way back in 2005, and it seems they finally made another record. It’s nice, don’t you agree? And it’s on my friend Nicodemus’ Wonderwheel Recordings label, so you know I gotta represent. Buy Brooklyn music!
Rule of Mind – Some after hours sexy funk from Stockton California, 1975. These guys were originally called the 3rd Creation, but an existing act forced them to change their name to The 9th Creation. They had a few R&B chart hits, but their record labels kept going under, keeping them from achieving any real fame. I became aware of them simply because the intro drums have been sampled so many times. I do like how the singer starts off doing a serious Isaac Hayes bedroom voice impersonation.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Dub – Parisian dubster Thomas Blanchot, aka Mato, once again hooks up a classic melody inna reggae style. Not exactly ground breaking stuff, but I’m a sucker for any kind of scifi-laced dub, so that’s enough for me.
Concentration Version 3 – Now that we’re on the dub side of things, why not include some classic JA real deal – a dub of the Dennis Brown 1972 original, “Concentration”. Produced by Derrick Harriot and mixed by King Tubby himself. Derrick started making rocksteady records in high school in the late 50s, with his singing duo The Jiving Juniors. They had a few hits, including THIS gem.
Break You Off (Bogart’s soundcheck dub VS studio version) – Bogart’s is a landmark mid-size live music venue in Cincinnati, where I grew up. Touring acts too big to play the local punk club would gig there. I saw my first Bad Brains show there. My first Motorhead show. Etc. This is a random Roots soundcheck recording from 2003, where they dubbed out for a minute. I figured this is a good transition out of the King Tubby and into the acapella, followed by the studio vocal. I fully admit I really slept on this cut. I think I played it in clubs a few times when it was released, but it was never really a dance floor hit in NYC, so I never even heard the last 1/3rd of the song. Embarrassing. Now that I sit back and listen to the whole thing, I realize just how nice the entire cut is. And the way it drifts off at the end is just the way I like to finish a mix like this. Thanks for listening.